BROCKTON – Robert G. Ford, known to friends as the “Water Pirate” for receiving a water bill from the city for about $17,000 that he successfully fought for, has died. He was 79.
Ford, a resident of Brockton for more than 50 years, died Sept. 26 of a sudden illness.
“The world would be a better place if we had more Bob Fords,” said Dick Zaccaro, a longtime friend of Ford’s who founded Brocktonians for Limited Taxation, the group Ford was working for.
Ford became famous in the city after receiving huge water bills in 2010, prompting an investigation by The Enterprise. It led the city council to order an outside audit of the water and sewer departments and cut bills for Ford and other residents.
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Ford was a funny guy and when Zaccaro had him on his Brockton Community Access TV show to talk about the water bill, Ford donned a pirate hat and eye patch and came with a sword after being nicknamed the “Water Pirate.” “
“He was alive until he went to the hospital,” Zaccaro said. “In fact, when he was rushed to the hospital that day, he was going to speak at a school committee meeting about $14 million in overspending. He loved the city of Brockton. He continued to fight against high taxes and high taxes. . Every controversial political issue there was, he was close to me.”
Ford received its first big water bill after the city recorded an actual reading from its water meter for the first time in six years. But Ford said no one entered his home to read the meter the day it was recorded. And years before that, a meter reader told Ford’s son that he was going to submit a work order to the city for a new pad outside Ford’s house since it was torn down.
That bill and subsequent investigation into water issues resulted in Ford settling with the city for less than $2,000 after installing a new water meter, Zaccaro said.
Ford grew up in Jamaica Plain and served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. He worked as a salesman for Cott’s, Canada Dry, Schewppe’s and Polar beverages before retiring, according to his obituary.
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Ford had a passion for creating satirical political posters and had a large record collection, mainly of Irish music.
“He enjoyed life,” Zaccaro said. “He was a kind, gentle man.”
Ford is survived by his wife, Christine Ford, son Robert C. Ford, daughter Maureen Joyce and many other relatives.
People may pay their respects to Ford during calling hours from 1 to 4 pm on Sunday at Waitt Funeral Home, 850 N. Main St. in Brockton. A funeral mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at St. Edith Stein, 71 E. Main St. in Brockton. He will be buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
Senior Business Reporter Cody Shepard can be reached by email at email@example.com.